Friday, June 20, 2008

You Never Know What Awaits You in Your Local Chick-Fil-A

Friendly, extroverted preschoolers are God's gift to those who wish to "do the work of an evangelist." God certainly gave us an extra helping of that gift in Jim, and I was thanking God for that as I sat in the Chick-Fil-A playground in McKinney, TX, yesterday. Her two preschoolers were alongside mine, trying to survive a throng of vulgar, abrasive nine-year-oldish boys who had summarily and individually assigned to every person, implement, and appliance in the Chick-Fil-A either some label depicting human waste or (apparently a worse fate) the sobriquet "Hannah Montana." When the Mongols came to blows for the umpteenth time, parent-stormtroopers finally arose from their meals, entered the play area, and drug the older children out of the House that Truett Built amidst weeping and wailing.

I decided that her accent was my conversation-starter. With my friendliest face I opened with my best Gomer-Pyle-meets-Inspector-Clouseau rendition of "Êtes-vous française?" She wasn't, although I could have sworn that I heard her muttering French to someone on a cell phone a few minutes earlier. But she wasn't French; she was Albanian. Nonetheless, she was obviously delighted that I was making efforts at a conversation.

"I knew a college student from Albania. My brother-in-law brought him home from Thanksgiving for a couple of years." (There's my hook. He was a Christian, sent here by missionaries. Ask her why she's in the country, tell why he came here, and then straight into the gospel.) "Did you grow up in Albania?"


"How on earth did you wind up in McKinney, Texas?"

"My husband is in school here."

"Oh, really! To study what?"

"He's completing his Th.M. at Dallas Theological Seminary. We're missionaries to…" OK, that part I can't tell you, except to note that her response makes the remainder of the conversation very interesting.

"Well, then, I'm guessing that you're not going to let me get very far in presenting the gospel to you, are you?"

We both chuckled over that, and a delightful conversation ensued. I told her about the Moslems who have come to Christ through our ministry at FBC Farmersville, where they are now, and how much I worry about them and pray for them. She spoke of the difficulties and struggles of their ministry.

I couldn't resist myself: "So, have you ever heard of the Camel method?"

She hadn't. "Can you describe it to me?"

"It is a method that uses the Qur'an to try to lead people to Jesus."

Her brow furrowed a bit. "Yes. I know about such things. We know somebody at DTS who is constantly pushing something like this. We think it is a bad idea. We spent our first two years trying to build relationships and work indirectly at finding an opportunity to share the gospel. We accomplished nothing. Then we started just presenting the gospel to people openly. They appreciated our honesty, and we saw six people accept Christ in one year. What do South Baptists [her English was pretty good, but she labored a bit at times] think about this 'Camel'?"

"Well, I think it is a bad idea, too," I replied. "And a lot of our missionaries think it is a bad idea. But it receives very favorable promotion from our mission board administration."

"What people don't understand," she said, "is that these people think we have some sort of hidden agenda all along. When we pretend to be something that we're not, then later, when we reveal ourselves, we confirm their initial suspicions and they wonder why they came to trust us. Better to be honest all along and let the power of the gospel do its work."

I couldn't have agreed more.

Before long my Sarah had done everything that an almost-two-year-old can do in the Chick-Fil-A playground, and we found ourselves on the way to Wal-Mart and Sam's.

Every new person is an adventure when you live your life on-mission for Christ. I didn't get to witness to a lost person in Chick-Fil-A yesterday, but I did get to meet a sister in Christ and I do now have the opportunity to pray for her dangerous ministry in another part of the world. And I also got an opportunity to confirm what I knew all along: My opposition to the Camel doesn't have a doggoned thing to do with being an American, with having been called to be something other than a foreign missionary, with being steeped in some kind of SBC subculture, or with not being "broad" enough in my experiences.

It just has to do with knowing a bad idea when I see it.


Todd Benkert said...


Thanks for sharing your experience and conversation. This may sound like I'm flip-flopping, but I have no objection to questioning the wisdom of the Camel method on practical grounds such as what you were discussing. I myself have questioned the camel method on such pragmatic grounds. Further, I agree that there are some genuine concerns with elements of the method as described in the book The Camel (and which Akin addresses in his article on the subject). You are correct in raising ethical/theological questions about "bait and switch," elevating the Koran or Mohammed, etc.

My point of disagreement with you is this: (1) Legitimate Ethical/Theological Problems with particulars of the Camel Method should not negate the concept of bridging as a whole. The legitimacy of bridging is a related but separate issue and should be argued apart from the Camel itself. I think I could convince you on the legitimacy of bridging in some ways and contexts. (2) The fact that such bridging is not helpful in some contexts, does not mean it is not helpful in others. I agree with you that the gospel alone has the power to save. Bridging is meant to gain a hearing of the gospel. I agree with you that there can be ethical concerns, but i believe these concerns can be addressed. Your very Conversation at the restaurant was meant to be a "bridge" to an opportunity to share the gospel. You did not begin with the gospel. IMO, the debate actually centers on what are appropriate bridges. And on this we agree: we need to think biblically and critically about such issues.


James Heffington said...

Thanks for sharing that Bart. Was exciting to read look forward to the next story you share when you DO have a chance to share the Gospel!


Bart Barber said...


Perhaps I ought to do that more. Feels sort of like kissing and telling sometimes—something too intimate to blab about on the Internet. Weird, huh? I did tell one story about a guy in the Cancun airport once upon a time, but that was a pretty exceptional occurrence.

Bart Barber said...


I'm not against "bridging" while sharing the gospel. I'm not against barbecuing while sharing the gospel. I'm not against drawing illustrations on napkins while sharing the gospel. I'm not against using the latest canned conversation from some American publisher while sharing the gospel.

1. I'm against pretending that any of those things, as opposed to the gospel, makes the difference between success and failure.

2. I'm against lying to people whom we're trying to bring to the truth.

3. Most of all, I'm 100% dead-set against syncretism, it having plagued humankind as a sacrilege and offense against God throughout human history.

Alex said...


Are you seriously telling us one encounter with an Albanian who has never heard of the Camel method in a Chick-Fil-A playground in McKinney confirms your opinion? Confirmation is soooo easy when you know you're right!

And top marks for knowing Albania isn't in Texas . . .

Todd Benkert said...


Amen! We are on the same page.

The questions that remain for evaluating the camel method are:

(1) Does such an approach close or open doors to gospel proclamation.


(2) Can such an approach be used without a dependence on method for success, being dishonest as a gospel messenger, or leading to syncretism?

I am in agreement with you that the Camel book is problematic on these grounds. The book should be pulled or re-written. If, however, such a method can meet the standard you set forth, I am willing to let the missionaries on the field make the determination of whether such a method is useful in their context.

If the discussion is on the book alone, I'm right with you. Further, I understand why you arrive at your position given that you have reasonably judged that the Camel book is representative of Q'uranic bridging method as a whole. If a better, more critical book were written on the subject, you may not have the same objections.


Bart Barber said...


I've stated from the beginning that my problem is with the book, although if I have not taken pains at every reference to restate that qualification. I have also posted to try to highlight the specific corrections that I believe need to be made. Most of them are in the way of additions rather than subtractions or changes.

Bart Barber said...


I thought that I had replied to you, but it seems to be missing...

I am seriously saying that this woman's objection to the Camel obviously does not arise from:

1. Her being an American (she's not one),

2. Her being called to be something other than a foreign missionary (she is one).

3. Her having been steeped in some sort of SBC subculture (she's not 100% clear on what the SBC even is),

4. Her not being broad enough in her experiences (she's an Albanian national studying in the USA after having served as a missionary in another part of the world).

Logically, these things cannot possibly be the reason for her objections to the Camel, and neither are they the reasons for my objections. I guess there must be some substantive reason for objecting to the Camel that cannot be covered over by your snideness.

Todd Benkert said...

Great! I love agreeing with you. :-)

Wayne Smith said...


Would you please answer this question? If using the Camel Method to witness for Jesus Christ led to one Soul to Truly Come to Salvation, would it be worth using the Camel Method???

I see your city is celebrating their favorite Son, Audie Murphy. Was he of the Baptist Persuasion?

Farmersville to celebrate Audie Murphy Day June 21

Wayne Smith

tto said...


Thanks for sharing your faith, even at fast food play grounds. I hate to throw out the entire method when it can be so helpful. Can it be abused? Absolutely. And it probably has been.

However, as an M in a Muslim country (we have since moved), this method was very helpful in helping people open the Bible and seriously consider what it said. Never did I or others I knew who were using the method use a "bait and switch" or any other questionable method. We were very open with the gospel, the Bible, and our purposes.

Your Albania contact was and is right, people are suspicious and it is best to be open with them. At the same time, because the people respect the Koran but often do not know it or read it, the teaching within the Koran that they should study the Bible is helpful in presenting the gospel and opening God's Word.

Trey Atkins
IMB - Croatia

Bart Barber said...


My response to your question comes from this question of my own that I posted last year.

Bart Barber said...


And my thanks to you for your service in Croatia. Who knows—you may know somebody who knows this lady!

As I said to Todd, my critique is against the book. I should think that EVERY missionary to Muslims would need to know a great deal about the Qur'an and be able to discuss it intelligently with Muslims. Basic training, I would hope. Also, I agree that it is helpful to be able to demonstrate that the Qur'an instructs its followers to read the Bible.

My objections to the procedures detailed in the book center primarily around the fact that neither in the "bridging" nor in the "Korbani plan of salvation" offered in the book does one find any clear step of making it clear to Muslim prospects that Mohammed is a false prophet, the Qur'an is a false scripture, and becoming a Christian requires ceasing to be a Muslim.

I am fully aware that missionaries are capable of drawing tidbits out of The Camel and enhancing them with these elements that I have mentioned and more. Not only am I aware of it, but it is also an item of hope and an object of prayer for me.

Steve Young said...

I just read a report of one of the presenters from the CBF meeting in Memphis that said the Gospel had moved away from a set of doctrines to self fulfillment. The presenter also said that his experience in meeting with pastors was that many believed the same thing. I wonder if any of the appointed missionaries they are sending out agree?
I am so thankful that our IMB does its best to send out missionaries who believe the Gospel of Scripture. We are not perfect, we do make mistakes, but Our battles are so different to seem almost insignificant in comparison.
Steve Young

Bart Barber said...


Wasn't that a frightening article?! The guy denies the deity of Christ as well!

I agree with you, and I am convinced that the supporters of The Camel within the IMB are more influential than numerous. Syncretism is a very significant matter, however, and one even as deserving of our caution as is Socinianism.

Wayne Smith said...


I Wholeheartedly Agree with you, that we should not tell a Lie.
Now will you answer my questions?

Wayne Smith

volfan007 said...


What a novel idea...just be straightforward and honest with people. I like it.

Bart, why do some in the SBC always feel that we have to sneak a witness in, or that we have to be secret agent Christians with hidden agendas as we try to win people to the TRUTH!

I have found in my visitation, that if I just openly say to people that I'm at their door to talk to them about Jesus, that they appreciate the honesty.


Bart Barber said...


Yours is a bad question, and although I would love to answer it if I could, I simply cannot. Your question presumes that the success or failure of presenting the gospel to someone depends not upon the gospel but upon whether I used The Camel. I disagree with the supposition entirely. The connection between my earlier post and your question is simply this:

1. Not everything can be excused by saying, "If it leads just one person to Christ..."

2. Because some actions, in and of themselves, are CONTRARY to the gospel and its Author, and

3. The power of the gospel is in the gospel, and not in the packaging, else we are preaching "cleverly devised schemes."

Bart Barber said...


A wonderful question. I have no answer.

Wayne Smith said...

I see your point about Sharing God's Word!!!

Wayne Smith

Debbie Kaufman said...

Bart: The hiding of the gospel that seems to be in the Camel method is one thing that has concerned me. I do believe we must be bold and upfront, not trying to bring it in the guise of the Qran.

from the middle east said...


The other day I met an Egyptian CBB who thinks using the Qur'an as a bridge is a great idea and has been using similar methodology for quite some time.

Your turn...

His peace be yours,
From the Middle East

from the middle east said...

Brother Bart,

One more thing. You said:

"It is a method that uses the Qur'an to try to lead people to Jesus."

While I am not particularly fond of The Camel METHOD itself, Greeson makes no such claim in the book. He clearly states that the METHOD is for finding out where God is already at work... a "person of peace." And one preemptive answer:

The "Korbani Plan of Salvation" is not part of the Camel METHOD itself, but is an example of one way to proceed if the person is open to hearing Truth.

May His face shine upon you,
From the Middle East

volfan007 said...

Gee, I wonder if Peter and Paul and Timothy knew the Camel Method, or FAITH, or EE, or any of the other methods of evangelism. What method do you thank that Peter used on the Day of Pentecost?


from the middle east said...

Brother Volfan,

The Apostles were masters at identifying with their audiences and proclaiming Truth. Canned methods can never take the place of listening, adapting and proclaiming!

If you are curious as to how the Apostles did this, I would recommend taking a look at the following book:

His peace be yours in abundance,
From the Middle East

Bart Barber said...


The point was not that this missionary's objections end the discussion once and for all. There's no need for us to begin to keep score.

But when I object to the Camel, people sometimes allege that I object because I am not a missionary, or because I am limited by some sort of Southern Baptist parochialism. The most extreme reaction is that which I heard on an interview recently—to suggest that those who oppose The Camel aren't witnessing to Muslims or are opposed to witnessing to Muslims.

That's why it is helpful to produce the opinion of someone who could not possibly be influenced by any of those things, yet who agrees entirely with me.

from the middle east said...

Brother Bart,

I, personally, do not think you object for those reasons. I would however have to bring up the point I made in my second comment...

My assumption is that the conservation took place exactly as you typed it out. If so, you misrepresented the Camel and thus her opinion is based upon false presuppositions.

Further, even if she has done a thorough study of using the Qur'an and local illustrations (in general) to bridge to the Gospel and has rejected it, I doubt she would call for everyone else to cease doing so! I know missionaries and MBBs who are contextual and others who are western in their dress, method of proclamation, etc. But most are more than willing to affirm the ministries of others and readily state that God draws different people to Him in different ways... therefore He calls some to a more "contextual" ministry and some to a more "westernized" approach. My sense is that you do not affirm all of those who are proclaiming the same Gospel, yet using different methodology... ie using the Qur'an as a bridge. I may be wrong, but do not sense this in your writing at all.

May the Spirit speak Truth to you tomorrow,
From the Middle East

from the middle east said...

Brother Bart,

The signature line should say:

May the Spirit speak Truth THROUGH you tomorrow!

From the Middle East

selahV said...

Bart! what a delightful read. I love it when you share your conversations with others. It is so encouraging as well as exciting and insightful! Are you always this fun to run into at the local eateries? selahV

Muslim Friend said...

Peace be upon all of you, I'm a Muslim friend who is interested in the topic of the Camel approach. I would like to give you and myself the chance to try the Camel method or any other method that you might see suitable for me because really I want to understand how can any method in the world would be able to over come my belief? But I would suggest that I will respond to only 1 of you. I can't respond to all of you at the same time. So please choose someone who you think he is the most qualified person for this mission which I consider it an opportunity for me to learn more about the truth.

So first let me introduce myself to you. My name is Ahmed, I live in TN and I'm Egyptian. I apology for any language mistake. English is not my first language.

So I'm gladly waiting for your turn to reply to me.

Thank you

Bart Barber said...

Dear Muslim Friend,

I'm afraid that this thread has gone quite stale, having lain here untouched for more than a month prior to your comment. I'm likely to be the only person to see it, and that only because the system notifies me when someone comments.

And I'm afraid that I make a pretty poor partner for the dialogue that you seek—I despise the Camel method and would never engage in its subterfuge with you or anyone else.

If, on the other hand, you are willing to dialogue about the gospel of Jesus Christ apart from any discussion of the Camel method, it would be my profound privilege to speak with you about the One who created me and to whom I belong.

Todd Benkert said...

Dear Muslim Friend,

I hope you will take the opportunity to talk with Bart about the Christian faith. This is his blog and he is indeed highly qualified to have such a discussion with you. I will pray Bart and for you, that God will show you the truth about Jesus Christ. No "method" can overcome your belief, only the truth itself as God reveals himself to you.

I pray you come to know Him.

-- Todd B.

Muslim Friend said...

Dear Bart,

I would be more than glad for you to share with me the gospel of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). But please remember that I already believe in Jesus Christ as he is the Christ (Messiah), the word of Allah, was born from the virgin Marry (peace be upon her). And I believe that he cured people by the will of Allah. I believe that he came to teach the children of Israel to be tolerance and love because they reach a point of intolerance when they implemented the laws. So from which point you would like to start with me?


Bart Barber said...

Greetings, Ahmed, and thanks for the conversation.

One thing I've learned: There are many varieties of Islam and many varieties of Christianity. Also, within each variant, the individual adherents vary in how much they know about their own faith tradition and how they have understood and interpreted it.

In other words, although you have already stated that you are a Muslim, I don't want to leap to conclusions about what you believe.

So, if you don't mind, let's start with something basic, yet quite significant:

QUESTION: What do you believe happens to people after they die? Do all people meet the same fate, or do different people have different fates awaiting them?

Bart Barber said...

Oh yeah, Ahmed,

Do you want to have this conversation on the blog, or would you feel more comfortable doing this by email? I'd be glad to share my address. This comment box is (in my opinion) a pretty confining space for typing anything substantial.

But I am pleased to converse with you by any means you prefer.

Muslim Friend said...

Dear Bart,

Regarding your question about what do I believe of what would be the fate of the people after they die. As a Muslim I have to believe that Allah is just and fair and people will have different fate according to their beliefs and actions. How come a criminal would be equal to a righteous person in the judgment day. and how come a person who worship only God would be equal to someone who made a partner with Him? But at the end we Muslims believe that although that we must have faith and doing the right actions but none of that is enough to lead us to heaven. The believers will go to heaven by the grace and the mercy of Allah but their faith and actions is what will make them deserve this mercy from Him. It's like their proof to Allah that they really do believe by actions not by words.
I don't really mind to communicate by email or through the blog. For me it's the same.

Bart Barber said...

Dear Muslim Friend,

So, if I understand your answer correctly, you are saying that some people will go to Heaven (is this permissible Muslim terminology?) and other people will go to Hell when they die. In differentiating between the two, you offered three different contrasts:

1. "A criminal" would go to Hell, but "a righteous person" would go to Heaven.

2. "A person who worships only God" would go to Heaven, but "someone who made a partner with Him" would go to Hell.

3. "The believers will go to Heaven for they "deserve this mercy from Him," but (presumably) those who do not believe do not deserve mercy and go to Hell.

Allah will separate people in this manner because it is "just and fair" to do so by these criteria. Have I understood you correctly?

(I hope you won't find this style of conversation burdensome. I have found it so important to confirm that you understand what someone has said before reacting to it.)

Muslim Friend said...

Dear Bart,

I would like to clarify myself more about some points that I have mentioned:

1- The criminal can go to heaven if he repent and has the right faith. Allah said in sura 39 verse 53 :
"Say: 'O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful"

And in Sura 4:110 Allah says:

"And whosoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah's forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful"

2- The righteous person will go to heaven (yes, heaven is a permissible terminology in Islam but most of the time we use the word paradise)not only by being righteous but by having the right faith and act upon it.

For example you and I agree that Buddhism is not a true religion or faith and that a Buddhist won't go to heaven because he worshiped and prayed to someone else but Allah even though that he is very righteous and a peaceful man. Right?

3- Believers will goto Heaven not only because they believed and worshiped only one God who is Allah but because they acted upon that and because of their belief and actions they deserved the Mercy of Allah. Muslims believe that right faith without the right actions is nothing as well as good actions without the right faith are nothing.
Allah will separate the people this way not only because He is just and fair but because He is the Most Merciful.

Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) said: " Indeed, before Allah created the creation, He decreed for Himself, 'Indeed My Mercy prevails over My Anger".

Because there is no one on earth can go to Heaven ONLY by his faith and actions but people will goto Heaven by the Mercy of Allah.

Muslim Friend said...

Dear Bart,

I hope you are doing fine. I didn't hear from you since my last posting on August 6th. Are you ok?

Bart Barber said...

Dear Muslim Friend,

I am fine. Thanks for asking. My computer is not...or rather, my router is not. I apologize for the delays while most of my spare time goes to setting our network aright.

Muslim Friend said...

Dear Bart,

I'm happy that you are fine and I hope that you can fix your network soon insha'Allah (God willing in Arabic). And I hope that the network problem won't stop our dialog.

Thank you

Bart Barber said...

Dear Muslim Friend,

Thank you for the well-wishes. I now have a new router up and running. Next week I'm replacing our server, so we'd better "make hay while the sun shines"!

I believe that God is One God who has mysteriously revealed Himself in Three Persons. I believe that God is holy, just, merciful, and forgiving. Yet let us not pretend that these attributes are so easily reconciled. Contrary to what you have indicated, I believe that a mercy "deserved" is no mercy at all. When I get what I deserve, I get justice. When I do not get the punishment that I deserve, I get mercy.

Question 1: If, in the will of Allah, he were to refuse to allow you into heaven, would he be acting unjustly? Have you sinned? Are you deserving of heaven?

So, the problem before us is simply this: How can God be merciful and still remain just? By the teachings of Islam, if I understand you correctly, Allah chooses to abandon justice for the sins of Muslims. These sins are ignored. No punishment is made for them.

I believe that God is both just and merciful. Christianity teaches that God made atonement for sin through the sacrifice of Jesus' crucifixion. I believe that I will go to heaven, not because God has abandoned justice for my sins, but because the penalty of my sin has already been paid on my behalf.

Thus, although it is by faith that I RECEIVE this atonement, my faith is in no way the BASIS of God's mercy or forgiveness. Christ's atonement is the basis of God's mercy toward me.

If faith is the basis of God's mercy, then why does it not extend to me as well as to you? I am a follower of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. I am a person of the book. I am a follower of the words of Isa. I am a person of faith. My faith is profound and sincere. I am a person of submission to God. Are there not Muslims whose faith is less sincere or less devout than mine?

Is there necessarily less faith in my heart as I prayed with my family this morning than in the heart of every person around the world performing salat this morning?

If faith is the basis of the mercy of God, it seems to me that all people of sincere faith would find God's mercy.

Yet I do not believe that faith is the basis of God's mercy. I believe that the atoning sacrifice of Jesus is the basis of God's mercy. That is why I believe that Buddhists must come to faith in Jesus—because faith in Buddha is faith in someone who has made no atonement for sin.

Thank you for your patience in our dialogue. May God shine His light into your heart.

Muslim Friend said...

Dear Bart,

Thank you for your reply. Please allow me to quote from your reply to respond to you correctly.

You said: "I believe that God is One God who has mysteriously revealed Himself in Three Persons"

Please show me where did Jesus (peace be upon him) say that he is God or to worship him from your bible? but it has to be his own words that's coming from his lips not from any body else.

You said :"I believe that God is holy, just, merciful, and forgiving".

If you believe that Jesus is God then how can God be holy if he has to eat, drink and urinate? is this holy? no

Is it Just to punish someone for someone else's sin? no

Is it mercy or just or forgiving to torture and kill an innocent man to forgive the sinners???? no

In Islam Allah is looked way more forgiving than in Christianity because He doesn't need to kill an innocent man to forgive people. All what the people need is to believe that there is no god but Him, act upon it and He will forgive them by His will.

Allah said 4:48 "Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed"

In Islam Allah is looked more Merciful. If a sincere believer ask for Allah's forgiveness and mercy, He will give it to him. But in your version of Christianity, although that Jesus was innocent and righteous but Allah didn't answer his prayer to save him from the torture and the punishment for a sin that he didn't do it!!!

Allah said in the Qur'an 2:186 "And when My servant question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright."

You said "I believe that a mercy "deserved" is no mercy at all"

We both agree about that, because I said before in my comment on August 6th :
" there is no one on earth can go to Heaven ONLY by his faith and actions but people will goto Heaven by the Mercy of Allah."

But if you want to say that your actions and faith shouldn't be a reason to get Allah's Mercy. Then there is no need to believe that Jesus died for your sins or to act righteousness because simply according to you, Allah as the Most Merciful should forgive you for no reason !! I don't think that this is justice or Mercy for those who acted right. Don't you think so?

You asked :"Question 1: If, in the will of Allah, he were to refuse to allow you into heaven, would he be acting unjustly? Have you sinned? Are you deserving of heaven?"

Everyone is hoping to go to heaven by the Mercy of Allah and Allah said (rough translation)" I'm as my slave expect from Me. If he expect good from Me,I will grant it for him and he expect bad, he will get it".
So as a Muslim I have to put my confidence and trust in Allah's Mercy and Forgiving and expect from Him always the good things.

You said:"Allah chooses to abandon justice for the sins of Muslims. These sins are ignored. No punishment is made for them."

This is not true. Some Muslims will goto hell because their sins are more than their good deeds and didn't repent from these sins. But after they get their punishment for these sins. Allah will take them to the heaven because they didn't worship anybody beside Him.

Brat, For someone to go to heaven or hell is more complicated than that and nobody really can claim that he can explain how Allah judges on people because nobody is god but Him. In fact as a Muslim I feel that it's not appropriate for me to talk about how Allah decide who will goto heaven or hell because Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him ) said :" Two men in the ancient time were debating and the righteous one said to the other one "You will goto hell and I will goto heaven" Allah heard him saying that and said "Who is judging on people on My Behalf. Take the one who said this to hell and the other one to heaven".

From this story we Muslims learn that we shouldn't talk about how Allah will judge people except repeating what He Himself said about it, otherwise we will fall in the category of judging on His behalf.

You said :"I believe that God is both just and merciful. Christianity teaches that God made atonement for sin through the sacrifice of Jesus' crucifixion. I believe that I will go to heaven, not because God has abandoned justice for my sins, but because the penalty of my sin has already been paid on my behalf"

-Again, how come you call torturing and killing an innocent man for your sins is just and merciful?!

You said :"I am a follower of the God of Abraham"

Didn't the God of Ibrahim made a covenant with Ibrahim in Genesis 17:9-14:
"Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner--those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."

-Do you and the Christians in general follow what the God of Abraham ordered?!

You said that you are a follower of the God of Isaac and Jacob.
In Islam we believe that Allah is the Most power while in the bible it shows that Jacob defeated God !!!!!
Ge 32:24- 30 "24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." 27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. 28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." 29 Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."

This is not the way we believe about God. We believe that He is THE power and nobody NOBODY can defeat Him.

So your belief about Jacob's God is totally different than what I believe about Jacob's God.

You said that you are a follower of the God of Moses.

How can you believe in the same God of Moses while your belief break the first and the second commandments.
Ex 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me"

And yet when you pray, you pray to Jesus not to God.

Ex 20:4:"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above" (like a dove) .
"or that is in the earth beneath," (like a man who walks on earth, Jesus)

"or that is in the water under the earth" (like the symbol of a fish)

Do you see how Christianity is broke the 1st and 2nd commandments 100%.

From all the above Islam really match 100% the 10 commandments more than Christianity not only that Islam match the commandments but match the logic and the nature of the human been on how he would think about God. (The Most Merciful, Forgiveness, Just that He doesn't punish innocent for someone's else sins and the Most powerful that nobody can defeat Him even if it's Jacob!!)

I hope this way of responding won't sound bad but I thought that this is the best way to respond to most of what you have mentioned.

And May Allah guides you and everyone read this blog to the right path and I will be more than glad to hear from you.

Thank you

Bart Barber said...


I have already stated that I worship the One God. And when I pray "Our Father who is in Heaven" as Jesus taught, how is this not praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses?

Tritheism is not what I believe. It is simply what you wrongfully accuse me of believing.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses all made sacrifices for the atonement of sin. Abraham's covenant was made with just such a sacrifice. The law of Moses proclaimed the Day of Atonement to be solemnized with animal sacrifices and stipulated numerous other similar sacrifices for sin. Of these Old Testament patriarchs we must declare that their faith in God had as one of its central points that which you have labeled as unjust, namely, the sacrifice of an "innocent" as atonement for human sin. Throughout the Old Testament we see evidence of what the New Testament states explicitly: "Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).

Indeed, even some Muslims practice Korban, do they not? It seems strange that you would label as unjust and horrific a practice of the very religion that you would advocate!

So, with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, I declare to you that blood sacrifice is the only means by which I might have hope to obtain forgiveness of my sins and to know the mercy of God. The concept of animal sacrifice in the Old Testament pointed forward to the sacrificial atonement of Christ in the New Testament, for it is not "the blood of bulls and goats [that] take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4), rather, it is the blood of our incarnate God.

Jesus' disciples once asked him, "Where's God? Show Him to us?" Jesus answered, "I'm right here." (John 14:8-12) Literally, word for word, He said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father."

Ahmed, if I went to Mecca, stood in the crowd, and shouted out, "If you want to see Allah, look right here. He who has seen Bart Barber has seen Allah," how do you think the crowd would react? Would I be accosted as an infidel blaspheming the name of Allah? I imagine that I would. Because the meaning of my statement would be plain—I would be claiming to be Allah.

Indeed, for me to repeat Jesus' words in our church would likewise cause me to be removed as a heretic. But this is what Jesus said in His own words. He did not claim to be another God. He clearly taught that there is only one God, and that the One God was both Jesus and the Father, who are not two but are One. "I and the Father are One." (John 10:30)

You correctly stated the doctrine of Islam when you said, "Some Muslims will goto hell because their sins are more than their good deeds and didn't repent from these sins." Conversely, some Muslims will go straight to heaven because their good deeds are more than their sins, right? Yet these are not sinless people. For their sins, Allah has abandoned justice. No payment is made for their rebellion against Allah. The person—even the Muslim—who hits 51% sins and 49% good deeds must go temporarily to hell to pay off the 51% sins. But the Muslim who hits 51% good deeds and 49% sins (although he is only marginally a better person than the other) has 49% sins for which there is no punishment and no atonement. For these sins, Allah has abandoned justice.

At least, so it appears to one looking in from the outside. Thank you for your frank and courteous dialogue. I look forward to hearing from you again. And I pray that Christ will do for you what he has recently done in the heart of Masab Yousef and in the hearts of the several Muslims who have come to Christ in our church.

Bart Barber said...


I forgot to mention: I'll be away from my computer most of the day, so forgive me if I am delayed in answering when you have replied. I am thankful for the patience you have demonstrated in our conversation so far. And I am thankful that you live in Tennessee, where you can listen freely. It is interesting that, in any non-Islamic nation on the planet, I could be persuaded by your argument and convert to Islam without fear. But in any Islamic nation on the planet, were you to be persuaded by the Word of God, you would be in danger for your life. The truth is powerful enough to win its own battles without threats of violence. Perhaps God has brought you to Tennessee from Egypt so that you might have the freedom to listen to the gospel without fear.

Muslim Friend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Muslim Friend said...

Dear Bart,

I’m sorry for being late to respond to your last comment. I was really busy and didn’t have any time to write to you.

You said:” Tritheism is not what I believe. It is simply what you wrongfully accuse me of believing.”

But you mentioned on August 13:” I believe that God is One God who has mysteriously revealed Himself in Three Persons”

How come you say that you don’t believe in Tritheism while you believe that God revealed Himself in Three Persons?!! I see it as a contradiction here.

And you didn’t answer my questions that I asked:

1- Do you and Christians in general follow what the God of Abraham ordered in Ge 17: 9-14? If not then how come you say that you follow the God of Ibraham?
2- The God of Moses ordered Moses in Exodus 20 :3-4 to do not have any likeness of Him either walking on earth (like Jesus) nor flying above the earth (like a dove) or swimming under the water (like the symbol of fish). But Christians believe that Jesus is God who is a man walked on earth and they believe that the Holy Spirit (which is a third person to God) came in the image of a dove and they use the fish symbol which is something swim under the water. How come after breaking the 1st and the 2nd commandments of the God of Moses you still convinced that you worship the God of Moses?

And let me add another question. How come you say that you follow the same God of Moses who said in Numbers 23:19 that he is not a man or a son of man? While you believe that Jesus (who is a man and called himself son of man) is God or one of the 3 persons of God?

You said :” Throughout the Old Testament we see evidence of what the New Testament states explicitly: "Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).

Well, Throughout the Old Testament I can show you evidence that Allah doesn’t need sacrifices.

Psalm 40:6:

"Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required."

Psalms 51:16:

“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering”

Deuteronomy 12:31 – 32

You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.
See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.

Micah 6:7-8

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God

Exodus 23:7

Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.

Bart, from all the above we see that Allah in the Old Test. didn’t require blood to forgive people.

And responding to your comment that Muslim make “Korban” it’s really astonishing that you didn’t read profoundly the reason behind the “Odheya” which means scarification in Arabic while “Korban” means something that you offer to be closer to someone and this term has been prohibited by Islam because the pagans were using it to worship their idols.

The “Odheya” which means scarification is NOT to forgive our sins but it’s a way that people sacrifice by their money or whatever they own to buy these sheep to share it with the poor people, 1/3 for the poor, 1/3 for the neighbors and 1/3 for yourself or relatives. So the sacrifice in Islam is not to for the blood but it’s for the sharing of the wealth that people from different levels can sit together and eat together.

You said :” it is the blood of our incarnate God.”

Is that really what you mean? The blood of your INCARNATE God?
Last thing I remember from the Old Test. in Numbers 23:19 that God is not a man or a son of man.

You said :” Jesus' disciples once asked him, "Where's God? Show Him to us?" Jesus answered, "I'm right here." (John 14:8-12) Literally, word for word, He said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father."

Bart, why the Christians always borrow the above verse and ignore this verse:

John 5:37

And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.

Remember Jesus in John 5:37 was speaking with them face to face and still said they didn’t hear the Father’s voice at any time and didn’t see Him either!!!

You said:” if I went to Mecca,” the correct way to write it is Makkah or Maccah which is the new name of the city which was called before Baca or Bakkah.

By the way this city is mentioned in the Psalms 84:4-6

4-Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah

5- Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.

6- As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools.

The only people in the world make pilgrimage in Makkah or Bacca are the Muslims.

Bart, you said:” He (Jesus) clearly taught that there is only one God, and that the One God was both Jesus and the Father, who are not two but are One. "I and the Father are One." (John 10:30)”

But in Mathew 19:6

“and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? F95 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

The question is did the man and the woman will become literally one body or it’s a metaphoric expression?

John 17:21

“That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

Bart, Jesus said “that they also may be one in Us ” Do you think that he meant that the people will be God too? Of course not. So when Jesus said “I and the Father are One” He didn’t mean literally that he is God but he meant that if we listened and obey his teachings then we obey God as the Jews if they obeyed Moses they would obeyed God as well. And so on.

John 17:23

“I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me”

Jesus said that he is in the disciples. So do you think that the disciples are in God as well so God is no longer 3 persons but He can be many persons now or later? !
Of course this is not what Jesus meant by “I and the Father are One” but he meant I’m His prophet and if you listen to me then you are listening to God.

You mentioned Masab Yousef who converted to Christianity. As you know that Masab is an ordinary man who basically may not know a lot about his religion (Islam) so it’s easy for someone who is not knowledgeable about his religion to switch to another religion. But what are you going to say about an American Christian preacher who became a Muslim?

You said :” I am thankful that you live in Tennessee, where you can listen freely. It is interesting that, in any non-Islamic nation on the planet, I could be persuaded by your argument and convert to Islam without fear. But in any Islamic nation on the planet, were you to be persuaded by the Word of God, you would be in danger for your life.”

Bart, you are very wrong in this one. I learned most of my information from the bible through daily public debates in Egypt between Muslims and Christians. If what you said is true than those 8 Million Egyptian Christians wouldn’t be alive and debating peacefully with the Muslims in public in a country that 93% of it are Muslims. Please don’t believe the media or some fanatics from both sides either Muslims or Christians.

In fact I’m afraid in Tennessee about my safety sometimes when a man came to me in 2005 outside of Wal-Mart and told me without any reason. “We are going to nuke Saudi Arabia” or the woman who screamed at me in Bi-Lo one day “ By the name of Jesus get out of this country!!!”

Or the customer who told me “ I don’t need a sand negor to tell me how many cylinder is in this car”

Or the mechanic who was talking to his colleague and told him to get the key from the towel headed guy.

Or the preacher who I was selling him a car for 2 hours and then he went to the sales manager asking him to buy the car from another sales man because the Lord told him that he has to buy it from a Christian.

Or the manager who one day yield at me because I said “Oh my God” . He said don’t call your fake god God your Allah is not a god to say “Oh my God”. Of course this manager got fired after I threatened the company that I will go to a lawyer.

For more than 30 years in Egypt, I never heard from a Christian these types of complains. Because we don’t have in our dictionary anything that is against them because in Islam we believe that they are the people of the book and we have respect for them although we don’t agree with them.

I pray to Allah to open your heart, mind and eyes and to worship Him the way all the prophets worshiped Him and to submit yourself to Him only Him and to follow what Jesus said not what Paul said.